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Ideas for Southwestern Design

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    Color

    • The colors of nature in Southwestern design include the colors of the landscape and natural elements. Sage green cactus, purple and cobalt blue sunsets, desert neutrals of brown, beige and gray and red brick are colors inspired by the landscape. Combine them with turquoise, chili pepper red and the bright oranges and yellows of desert flowers to create a palette authentic to the Southwest. Paint rough-textured walls neutral shades to create a Southwestern design atmosphere. Accent with bright colors to complete the design.

    Architecture

    • Traditional southwestern U.S. adobe homes had natural earth floors covered with bright, woven rugs or animal skins. Terra-cotta tile floors and pine floors replaced natural floors in time. Adobe or stucco walls added to the natural look of interior spaces. Beamed ceilings, arched windows, interior shutters, intricate ironwork gates and window grills all contribute to the overall Southwestern design style. Clay tile or tin roofs are common in southwestern U.S. homes. Incorporate these elements into ceilings or wall decor. A fireplace in each room provided warmth. Freestanding adobe units are available in a variety of styles.

    Furniture

    • Traditional Southwestern furniture was functional, providing storage where there were no closets or cabinets. Southwestern furniture is rustic and heavy. Spanish colonial antiques reminiscent of haciendas, Mission-style furniture borrowed from old Spanish missions and Mexican primitive pieces are popular choices. Light-toned, distressed and refinished pieces add to the design. Leather coverings for upholstered sofas and chairs are true to the early period and add texture to the design. Combine knotty pine wood, tiled surfaces and ironwork tables in furniture styles for a true Southwestern aesthetic.

    Accessories

    • Choose from Mexican, Native American and Spanish styles for southwestern accessories to include in the design. Use Native American and Mexican pottery and baskets to add texture and color that are symbolic of Southwestern style. Hang Spanish punched-tin lanterns from beams. Drape woven blankets and rugs over furniture to add pops of color to a neutral decor. Add hand-painted tiles to tabletops. Wrought iron lamps utilize a traditional element for functionality. Hang wool serapes as wall art or drape them over rustic ladders.

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